A key National League West series continues Saturday in San Francisco where the Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers in the middle contest of a 3-game series.
Saturday's matinee is set for a 4:05 p.m. (ET) first pitch from Giants lefty Barry Zito who will be opposed by LA's Chad Billingsley. San Francisco opened at -120 with a 7½-run total priced evenly high and low.
The rivalry is intense under normal conditions, but promises to get pumped up a little more this weekend with the two clubs at the top of the division. San Francisco entered the weekend holding a 3-game lead over the Dodgers with Friday's clash still pending. No MLB odds were available due to Los Angeles not officially naming its starter for the match. The Dodgers were expected to recall Stephen Fife from their Triple-A club in Albuquerque to make the start against Matt Cain.
Los Angeles is short a starting pitcher at the moment after dealing for Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins earlier this week. The key piece going back to Miami in that swap was young right-hander Nate Eovaldi who had originally been slated to pitch Friday for the Dodgers.
Neither of Saturday's starters will be a mystery to either lineup as Billingsley and Zito have each logged a lot of innings in this rivalry. Los Angeles is 10-9 in Billingsley's 19 career starts vs. the Giants, and he carries a 3.33 ERA against them including several relief appearances. Zito has faced the Dodgers for nearly 150 innings during his career dating back to his days with the Oakland Athletics, and owns a 3.73 lifetime ERA against Los Angeles.
This will be Zito's first start at home since the end of June, and his third go against the Dodgers this season. The southpaw tossed seven shutout innings in an 8-0 win at AT&T Park on June 25, but took a loss at LA in early May when he allowed three runs in six frames of a 9-1 Dodgers triumph. Los Angeles is 21-15 on the campaign when facing left-handed starters.
Billingsley just returned from a short stint on the disabled list due to a sore elbow. He was good for 100 pitches on Monday in St. Louis, surrendering just one run in six innings during Los Angeles' only victory over the Cardinals in the 4-game set.
He dropped a 3-0 decision to the Giants in San Francisco on June 27 when he was charged with all of their runs in a 6-inning appearance. The Dodgers won his earlier start this year against the Giants, though Billingsley didn't factor into the decision due to working just four innings (2 ER).
Los Angeles is wrapping up a 10-game road trip with this series, a trip that started well with four consecutive wins including a sweep at the Mets last weekend. The Dodgers dropped the last three games in St. Louis, however, and the 'over' is 5-2 on this journey.
The Giants just began a 10-game homestand by taking two of three from the San Diego Padres. Two of those affairs went 'over' the total, the only games to jump the scoreboard hurdle in the last 12 contests played in San Francisco.
One key injury note for this series involves San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval who strained his left hamstring during the series with San Diego. Sandoval was not expected to play Friday night, and the Giants could be forced to place the all-star on the DL if he hasn't responded to treatment in the next day or so.
Thanks to sweeping three successive series in 2006-07, and sweeping the first ever regular season series in the stadium back in April 2000, the Dodgers have an ever so slight 56-55 edge over the Giants at AT&T Park. That margin has been shrinking in recent years, however, with San Francisco winning 13 of the last 18 matchups. The Giants broomed the Dodgers here in late-June to gain a 4-2 advantage overall this season, and the 'under' has cashed in six of the last nine played in San Fran.